Well ain’t this something?
A new poll was released indicating overwhelming support of Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, which most Coloradans lovingly refer to as TABOR. Fully 71 percent of the 500 Coloradans surveyed expressed support for the policy, and lest you think these numbers are skewed, the breakdown of who was asked is… rather reflective of an actual election in Colorado: 37 percent of respondents were either unaffiliated or members of a third party, 32 percent were Democrats, and 31 percent were Republicans.
TABOR, for those uninitiated into wonky public policy, can be defined simply and as follows:
TABOR, the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, is an amendment to the state constitution passed in 1992 which requires state and local government to seek voter approval in order to raise taxes and also limits growth in state spending to population growth plus inflation. If the state collects more revenues than it is allowed to spend, then it must return the surplus to the taxpayers.
To put it another way, TABOR allows the people of Colorado to decide amongst themselves on tax increases. It’s one of the most publicly-empowering policies in the entire country, and, yeah, it’s pretty freakin’ popular in our beloved state.
Remember this when Democrats at the State Capitol introduce legislation that either puts a dent in, or otherwise seeks to circumvent TABOR. Every time they do it (and trust us, they do it), Democrat lawmakers are implicitly telling us that we’re not smart enough to determine our own state’s financial future.
For our part, we trust your gut on TABOR. And you’ll be happy to know that you’ve got a lot more friends than foes.
Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights should be strengthened, not repealed
On Jan. 15, a briefly worded initiative was presented to the Colorado Title Board for consideration to be placed on the 2020 ballot. The brevity of the proposal was commendable. Five words was all it needed: “TABOR – Repeal (Full TABOR Repeal).” Though speculative at this point, defenders of Article X Section 20 of the Colorado Constitution — better known as the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) — should prepare for a fight in 2020.
Well before TABOR became law in 1992, opponents concocted every possible scenario as to how this new constitutional amendment would lead to fiscal armageddon in Colorado. Nearly three decades after its passing, most of this hyperbole — as is the case for most hyperbole — never materialized.
Where is Colorado from a fiscal perspective? According to the States Project, Colorado ranks 30th in the country for total state debt (including unfunded liabilities) as a percentage of gross state product. The Mercatus Center ranks our state as 28th in the nation regarding a combination of solvency for cash, budget, long-run spending, service-level flexibility, and unfunded liabilities. U.S. News ranked Colorado 31st in fiscal stability.
It would seem Colorado is middle of the pack at best. TABOR did not ruin our state’s ability to manage the general fund.
Contrary to popular wisdom of the Chicken Littles who warned about how damaging it would be to Colorado, TABOR doesn’t need to be repealed; it needs to be strengthened. Continue reading
Is Colorado really blue? Not necessarily, new survey shows
Published: Jan. 24, 2019 • By Lisa Marshall
Is Colorado a blue state now?
Not necessarily, suggests a new CU Boulder survey that paints the state’s voters in more nuanced shades. The third annual Colorado Political Climate Survey released in full today, found that while Democratic candidates did sweep statewide races on election day, registered voters remain split on hot-button issues, such as fracking and whether businesses have the right to deny services based on religious beliefs.
“This was a midterm year, and therefore was expected to be a good year for Democrats nationally given the backlash toward the presidential administration. Perhaps no state had more of a blue wave than Colorado,” said Scott Adler, director of the American Politics Research Lab (APRL) and co-author of the study. “But based on our findings I would not call the state a permanent or fixed blue state. On many issues, it is still moderate.” Continue reading
The World Happiness Report provides data and research used around the world to help shape and inform policy.
Among its findings: giving to others is good for you. It makes you feel happy.1-8
Since 1992, the TABOR Foundation protects the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. We educate citizens on why it matters to have a vote on increased taxes and how a formula for predictable growth creates a sound economy.
We are all volunteers.
We give advice and direction to citizens working at their local level to stop TABOR violations. We assist as plaintiffs and “friends of the courts in lawsuits to stop such violations.
The biggest trick of politicians is calling a new tax a “fee” – whether it’s for plastic grocery bags, living in a special district, running a hospital, driving over a bridge, or funding a mandatory family leave program with an insurance “fee.” We’ve responded to inquiries not just in Colorado, but in states like South Dakota, Kansas, Arizona, Alaska and Florida.
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Please donate. You – and we – will be happy you did.
Thanks – and Happy New Year!
Your friends at the TABOR Foundation
Nicolais: An attack on TABOR could leave Colorado Democrats feeling the squeeze
A court composed of mostly Hickenlooper appointees turns the governor down cold, setting up a possible legislative showdown
PUBLISHED ONDEC 9, 2018 5:55AM MST
Special to The Colorado Sun
Before walking out the door from the governor’s office, John Hickenlooper took one last shot at a Democratic boogeyman. Last week, the Colorado Supreme Court denied Hickenlooper’s parting attempt to undercut TABOR, the conservative taxpayer’s bill of rights enshrined in the Colorado constitution.
Democrats, have long derided TABOR for the constraints it places on government. Not only does TABOR require a vote of the people to approve tax increases, but several of its provisions work in conjunction with other laws to create a “ratcheting effect” on government spending.
If revenues drop during an economic downturn, they cannot return to prior levels as the economy rebounds. Instead, growth is artificially tied to the down year plus a pittance for inflation.
The ratchet works like boa constrictor wrapped around a person. With every breath out, the snake squeezes a little tighter and the next breathe in is a little shallower.
Eventually, no breath can be drawn, and the person dies. I’m sure it delights TABOR’s progenitor, the eccentric Douglas Bruce, to imagine the government being asphyxiated.
Democrats have a little different view; they see a snake crushing the life from Colorado citizens. Gasping for funds no longer available, state and local services wither and waste away. Continue reading
After the midterm elections, Colorado voters woke up to an electoral map as blue as the sky. Democrats won almost all competitive races, including every state office. They now control both houses of the state legislature. But before we permanently paint Colorado blue, we should consider the outcomes of a few statewide ballot measures.
In fact, Colorado voters rejected most of the thirteen ballot measures at the state level. All the ballot measures proposing increased taxes and/or debt were defeated by a wide margin, including measures to fund schools and transportation. However, citizens approved a majority of the state’s local school bond issues and funding packages.
The results of these ballot measures continue a trend that began when the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights Amendment (TABOR) was ratified in 1992. TABOR requires voter approval for any increase in taxes or debt, and has proven to be the most effective state tax and spending limit in the country. Since TABOR was adopted, very few state ballot measures calling for increased taxes or debt have been approved. However, at the local level the majority of these ballot measures have passed.
Admin’s note: Vote NO on 73. It’s not “for the kids” as supporters of this TAX INCREASE say. This ballot question is a liberals spending dream and an end run around TABOR. Education already gets a funding increase every year since Amendment 23 passed in 2000. It’s too bad that student’s achievement results didn’t rise. More money does not equal better outcomes. TABOR will survive this misguided attempt.
Ballot initiative seeks to increase taxes by $1.6 billion; could end Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights
A controversial ballot initiative would raise taxes on Coloradans by $1.6 billion to increase funding for public schools if approved. Opponents argue it also would make the constitutionally protected Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) impotent.
Amendment 73, the Establish Income Tax Brackets and Raise Taxes for Education Initiative, seeks to amend the state constitution to replace Colorado’s flat rate income tax with a progressive income tax. Individuals earning more than $150,000 would be taxed more and the corporate income tax rate would increase. The revenue collected from the tax hikes would go into a newly created Quality Public Education Fund.
The state constitution requires a 55 percent supermajority vote for the initiative to become law.
“‘Take your success elsewhere’ should be the signs erected if Colorado approves Amendment 73,” Penn Pfiffner, former state legislator and chairman of the board of the TABOR Foundation, told Watchdog.org. “The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights properly treats everyone equally, requiring the same income tax rate be applied to everyone. Currently, if you make more money, you pay more, but only at the rate that everyone else pays. This proposal would change that, bringing an attitude that the upper middle class and wealthy should be attacked and made to pay increasing amounts. It is the worst concept in raising taxes.”
A group of opponents of the measure launched a “Blank Check. Blatant Deception. Vote No on 73,” campaign, arguing the ballot language is deceptive. It tried to have the question removed after the required deadline and Colorado’s secretary of state rejected its complaint. Continue reading
Beware the seven county-wide property tax hike, Question 7G
October 19, 2018
Almost 60% of Colorado’s population, roughly 2.8 million people, live within the seven county Urban Drainage and Flood Control District (UDFCD). If you are a voter within this district, you will see question 7G on your ballot, the first question ever referred by the district since its creation in 1969. The ballot language asks voters to approve a $14.9 million property tax increase, and to exempt that new money from the revenue limits in the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR). They deceptively claim this really isn’t a tax increase, but rather just a full restoration of their taxing authority.
If you are like me and want your community protected from flooding, and also love spending time near your local pond or stream, then why would you want to vote against such a proposal?
The answer has to do with two things, common sense and government entitlement.
Any voter with common sense would want to find out how the money is to be spent and what kind of oversight mechanisms are in place. Unfortunately, the Flood District has never held an election that allows citizens to choose their board of directors. Instead, 20 of the 22 directors of the District are politicians appointed by local city councils or county commissioners. For example, the Mayor of Broomfield was appointed to the board by Broomfield City Council. These politicians then appoint two professional engineers to serve with the Board Continue reading